Amazon River. Peru.


After our five treacherous days of trekking to Machu Picchu, we were excited (to say the least), about our Amazon River cruise!

From Iquitos, we jumped on our boat for another five day tour with Aqua Expeditions, but this time, it was much more relaxing.

Throughout our tour in The Amazon and the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, the second largest protected natural area in Peru, we had the privilege of experiencing:  

Day 1:

  • Marion River
  • The flooded community of Santo Domingo
  • The sound of the Donkey Bird (it’s just as you would imagine)
  • River lettuce – You can only access this spot once a year, and this is where Anacondas live EKK! Insects thrive on the lettuce: Spiders, dragonflies, crickets, ants, etc.
  • Birds: Cocoi heron, macaws, vulture, hawk, eagle, woodpecker, parrots, parakeets, egret – The sounds of the birds was surreal. I definitely felt like I was in an episode of NatGeo.
  • Flooded river village on the Tigre River – Watched a man bath in a boat. 150 people live in this small village, and most of them are family members. Sad, humbling experience.

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I hate snakes…

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Sheer terror…

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These river villages are flooded 3 months out of the year. This is just the way of life on the Amazon River during the wet season.

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Day 2:

Nauta Cano:

  • Jungle walk along the Maranon River – With boa constrictors, birds, monkeys, pig-me anteater, tarantula, and more!
  • Sunset on the black water of the Samiria River with pink river dolphins, mimosas, the rising moon and taking a few moments to close our eyes, listen to the sounds of the river and soak it all in. The best sound in the world!
  • Cayman hunting in Nauta Cano Creek – We caught one! And of course released it.
  • But started the day with a wet, rainy boat ride…

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Sunset Toast!

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Day 3:

Yarapa River:

  • Swimming in the black river of the Amazon – And yes, I was terrified given our recent encounter with anacondas and piranhas! But I survived 🙂
  • Saw amazing monkeys giving us a show in the Amazon River and Marayali Canal
  • Giant lily pads
  • Swim, kayak, and canoe in the Puerto Miguel 
  • 25 species of piranhas live in the Amazon – We fished for them in Huaisi Canal off the Amazon River, feeding them meat for bait. I caught one very small one. It’s teeth were still terrifying though.

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Day 4:

Itaya River:

  • Velin Floating Village in the Black Water – 20,000 people live there – Our guide told us, “The people living here don’t have much, but they’re happy. They have hope and they’ll make it work.”
  • Manatee Rescue Sanctuary – Save them from harpoon attacks, wounds, malnutrition from people keeping them as pets.

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Floating Restaurant.

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Manatee Rescue Sanctuary.

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The City of Iquitos.


Fun Facts: 

  • 320 communities live in the Amazon Rainforest – 60 of those live in voluntary isolation (Read the book The Unconquered for more stories about them)
  • Over 3,000 species of fish
  • Paiche is the largest fresh water fish in the world and a grand prize for fishermen; one of the planets natural treasures. It can grow longer than 3 meters and weighs 200 kilos. We ate it, delicious. 
  • Fishing is one of the main economic activities. The people there don’t over-fishing; they just do enough to survive.
  • The cruise company, Aqua Expeditions, practices aqua conservation – donating sustainable fishing equipment.
  • The river is so flat, you can see forever. And the reflections are incredible.
  • The Black River is much darker than the Amazon River, due to sediment and minerals
  • Manatees are lactose intolerant and only drink mothers milk for their first two years, then only eat river lettuce. They have no teeth and are absolutely adorable! An endangered species.

Saw the following animals:

  • Hawk
  • Stingray (over 200 types)
  • Pink Dolphins – one of the most representative animals in the region
  • Sloth
  • Saddleback Monkey
  • Lizard/iguana
  • Anaconda
  • Armored millipede
  • Pig-me anteater
  • Toucan
  • Capuchin Monkey
  • Squirrel Monkey
  • Fishing bats
  • Egrets
  • Boaconstrictor

2015 Bucket List Complete:

  • Saw Pink River Dolphins
  • Catch a piranha
  • Kayak in the Amazon
  • Make Peruvian ceviche
  • Catch an anaconda and face my fear (kinda!)
  • Hold a cayman
  • Swim in the Amazon River
  • Enjoyed a sunset over the Amazon River with Pink River Dolphins and the Southern Cross above

Next Time:

  • Visit during the dry season


  • Everything! – The wildlife, guides, crew, accommodations, eco-friendly, conservatory programs with communities and wild life foundations
  • Bring gifts of paper and pens to give to the children


  • Nothing!


  • How to make Ceviche:
    • Raw fish cut into cubes
    • Salt to flavor
    • Cilantro/coriander
    • Celery
    • Limo chili (don’t use seed if you like it less spicy)
    • Garlic paste
    • Onions
    • Lime juice to marinate


  • How to make a Pisco Sour:
    • 3 oz pisco
    • 1 oz lime juice
    • 1 oz simple syrup
    • .5 oz egg whites
    • Shake for 15 seconds
    • Two pours to separate drink and foam
    • Top with 3 drops of bitters

Peru, Piura Province, Mancora, specialty of Peru, close-up of Pisco Sour cocktail in glass